Info Service on Health Issues (Nov17/04)
13 November 2017
Third World Network
PHARMANIAGA MEDIA RELEASE
Pharmaniaga, Pharco and DNDi Sign Agreement to Provide
Affordable Hepatitis C Treatment in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR/GENEVA – 13th November 2017 – Malaysian pharmaceutical
company Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd (Pharmaniaga), Egyptian pharmaceutical
company Pharco Pharmaceuticals (Pharco) and non-profit research and
development organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)
have signed a collaboration agreement to supply a new hepatitis C
treatment regimen to be sold for US$300 in the public sector in Malaysia.
“It is estimated that there are around 450,000 people living
with hepatitis C in Malaysia but most of them have been unable to
access effective new hepatitis C treatment because of its very high
price,” said Dato’ Farshila Emran, Managing Director of Pharmaniaga.
“This agreement enables access to cheaper alternatives for patients
in Malaysia, and we are proud to be embarking on this collaboration
with DNDi and Pharco that would not have been possible without the
Ministry of Health’s support.”
In partnership with the Malaysian Ministry of Health, DNDi is currently
running clinical trials testing a potentially pan-genotypic treatment,
combining the drug candidate ravidasvir, produced by Egyptian drug
manufacturer Pharco Pharmaceuticals, with the existing hepatitis C
medicine sofosbuvir. The clinical trial is ongoing in six hospitals
and is co-sponsored by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, with initial
results expected in early 2018.
“We applaud the Malaysian government in its efforts and commitment
to make available affordable access to safe and effective treatments
for hepatitis C,” said Jean-Michel Piedagnel, Head of DNDi South-East
Asia. “The strategic investment from the Ministry of Health in helping
develop a public health approach to the epidemic is remarkable.”
The agreement covers the supply of ravidasvir, once approved in Malaysia,
and supply of sofosbuvir. A Government Use licence issued by
the Malaysian Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism
in September 2017 enables the importation of generic sofosbuvir in
order to make this drug available in the public health system throughout
the country at affordable prices.
“We hope that our collaboration with Pharmaniaga and DNDi to
develop a treatment regimen that costs less than US$1 per day will
lead to widespread access to safe, effective, and affordable treatment
for hepatitis C patients in Malaysia and around the region,” said
Dr. Sherine Helmy, CEO of Pharco Pharmaceuticals.
Currently a full 12-week course of treatment is available in Malaysia
for around US$70,000. With the combination of generic sofosbuvir and
ravidasvir, the cost for the same treatment will be made affordable
with an almost 100% decrease in price.